CARLOW camogie seems to have picked up a character in new senior manager Peter ‘Chap’ Cleere who is also a Fianna Fail Councillor. For example, he posted a video on-line of himself dancing accompanied by two of his daughters with the message that he would soon be ready for Dancing with the Stars.
“There would be a streak in me. I did a few videos when we were in lock-down. I spent a little bit more time with the family and we had a bit of craic. There is a bit wildness there.”
The Chap has four daughters, is a member of the Black and Whites club and more recently trained the Clara senior camogie team.
That brings up the obvious question. Who comes first? Clara or Carlow?
“With the split season I can stay with Clara but my commitment is completely to Carlow,” are his reassuring words.
He got the nickname “Chap” to distinguish himself from his grandfather and father who were also called Peter.
“Everyone calls me Chap. My own daughters call me Chap. My mother and father call me Chap. No-one calls me Peter. If you said Peter, I wouldn’t turn around,” he insists.
He went to school in Borris VS so he has knowledge of Carlow camogie, the players, and the personalities.
He has attracted a large squad for pre-training
“We have done a nice bit of work with the girls. We have had 6-7 challenge matches. We have seven different clubs representing us at the moment and we have a squad numbered in the mid-thirties. We are getting a great reaction. I am very happy with attitude and aptitude so far,” he says.
The league structure has changed. The first teams in each county play in Division 1A and B. Cavan, Kerry, Westmeath, Laois, Meath and Derry battle in 2A with the second teams of the likes of Galway, Kilkenny and Cork all in 2B.
Carlow are in 3A with Wicklow, Louth and Roscommon.
“Our aim is to get promotion,” says Chap.
This is a theme Carlow goalkeeper, Catherine Kavanagh, takes up.
“I suppose we are in division 3 because we haven’t been able to get ourselves out of it. That is up to us. It will definitely be a step up when we go to play championship and we play those intermediate sides. For the minute, division 3A is where we are and we have to be able to beat the sides in front of us. We haven’t done that over the last few years.
“We would all love to be able to play the likes Kilkenny, Dublin, Cork, Galway and all those sides but we have to work to get there.”
Having won an under 16 All-Ireland medal with Carlow, Catherine was eventually drafted into the side and is in her fourth year with the Carlow seniors. Even though she was a recognised keeper, she played outfield for a spell with the county. Now she is back between the sticks.
The preparation for the league is going well. Those players who are not in college train twice a week. Third year students travel once a week.
“The management team are very good. They don’t expect us to come down on a Monday after going up on Sunday evening. We do our own training and come down on Thursdays.
“There is definitely a buzz in training. The mood is good and we are hoping to push it on and get something out of the league.”
The first match against Louth on Saturday is going to clash with the Borris Vocational School attempt to win a junior camogie All-Ireland title. Catherine and a number of other past pupils will not be there.
“I went to Borris VS. I enjoyed every minute of it. I believe we tried to get our game changed but it didn’t happen. There are a lot of the current county panel who are ex Borris VS. We would all love to be down there and all we can do now is wish them all the best.”
Very Camogie League Division 3A fixtures:
04/04/2023 – Louth v Carlow
11/03/2023 – Carlow v Roscommon
18/03/2023 – Wicklow v Carlow
Eleanor Tracey, Holly Wall, Tegan Wall (Ballinkillen), Aibha Kiernan, Aoife Carroll, Eimear Raleigh, Shauna Sweeney (Burren Rangers), Anna Breen (Lucan Sarsfields), Catherine Kavanagh, Ciara Kavanagh, Eimear Byrne, Rachel Breen (Mount Leinster Rangers), Emma Lillis, Emma Cody, Eve Sinnott, Niamh Minchin, Rebecca Kelly, Sarah Jayne Burke (Muinebheag), Aimee Nolan, Aine Nolan, Ali Ruschitzko, Breege Nolan, Ciara Quirke, Gillian Doyle, Kate Nolan, Leanne Nolan, Michelle Nolan, Rhiannon Kenny, Tara Wilson, Caoimhe Jordan (Myshall), Eibhe Lawler, Katie Garry Murphy (Naomh Bríd), Emily Doyle, Caoimhe Coady, Ella O’Neill (St Mullins).
Management Team: Peter ‘Chap’ Cleere, Liam Doyle, Tracy McNally, Edel Ryan, Margaret Condell, Orla Curry.